Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 10
Houston Raceway Park
October 24-25, 2020
Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 6 (3.767 E.T. at 324.20 MPH)
E1: 3.745 E.T. at 321.65 MPH defeated Lee Callaway 6.222 E.T. at 96.74 MPH
E2: 3.708 E.T. at 322.58 MPH defeated by Billy Torrence 3.708 E.T. at 331.61 MPH
Aboard the bright yellow Pennzoil Top Fuel dragster, Leah Pruett kicked-off her Sunday morning by navigating her 11,000-horsepower machine to a smooth 3.745 E.T., improving upon her qualifying time to defeat Lee Callaway who had a cylinder out early. Round two’s pairing with Billy Torrence came with steep championship implications. The two Top Fuel championship-contenders powered to identical 3.708 E.T.s, but Torrence’s slight starting line advantage gave him the extra edge to take the round win, halting Pruett’s day after round two. The early exit allowed top-ranked Steve Torrence to further his points lead to a 198-point margin over Pruett, ending her 2020 championship chase.
The highlight of this weekend is that we solved a lot of problems with the car after really starting over after St. Louis. That put us behind and we feel we’re now in front of it. We have a race car that is performing very well. We had some additional software problems and we’ve been on the good side of these holeshot wins, but sometimes you’re going to find yourself on the other side of it. The most exciting thing about it is that we have one of the top, fastest hot rods going into Vegas. We have done very well in Vegas. I think points-wise we’re out of the championship, but we still have our eyes on moving forward on a high note.
Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 11 (7.955 E.T. at 172.32 MPH)
E1: 8.611 E.T. at 171.08 MPH defeated by John Cerbone 7.903 E.T. at 170.77 MPH
Leah Pruett qualified 11th on the strength of her St. Louis Q1 run for the second-to-last Factory Stock Showdown event of the 2020 season. The Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil also marked the second-to-last event where she’ll wheel the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak she affectionately refers to as ‘el Bandito.’ Pruett was looking to have a long day at the rescheduled Houston event, but her hopes of a first Houston Factory Stock triumph were dashed when she stood on the gas in round one of eliminations and immediately spun the tires while her opponent made a clean pass for the win.
We’re glad our qualifier from St. Louis held to carry us over. We were really running out of options with our program so we decided to make a setup change during the week, and no thanks to a delivery company, we didn’t get the parts we needed until late Saturday evening. We ran first round of eliminations rolling the dice with a setup we’ve never tested before and we had to go for it; it was the power we were looking for, but definitely too much. That’s given us good insight going into Las Vegas. It’s a different mindset when you’re not chasing a championship and you’re chasing progression, that’s what I’ve seen. We have something to work from for Vegas. Mark (Pawuk) is carrying the Mopar flag. We’ve figured out some things with ‘el Bandito’ and we’re feeling pumped.
Source: Don Schumacher Racing